14 June 2018, Writing – part x439, Developing Skills, Protagonist’s Helper, Example Deirdre
Introduction: I wrote the novel Aksinya: Enchantment and the Daemon. This was my 21st novel and through this blog, I gave you the entire novel in installments that included commentary on the writing. In the commentary, in addition to other general information on writing, I explained, how the novel was constructed, the metaphors and symbols in it, the writing techniques and tricks I used, and the way I built the scenes. You can look back through this blog and read the entire novel beginning with http://www.pilotlion.blogspot.com/2010/10/new-novel-part-3-girl-and-demon.html.
I’m using this novel as an example of how I produce, market, and eventually (we hope) get a novel published. I’ll keep you informed along the way.
The four plus one basic rules I employ when writing:
- Don’t confuse your readers.
- Entertain your readers.
- Ground your readers in the writing.
- Don’t show (or tell) everything.
- Immerse yourself in the world of your writing.
These are the steps I use to write a novel including the five discrete parts of a novel:
- Design the initial scene
- Develop a theme statement (initial setting, protagonist, protagonist’s helper or antagonist, action statement)
- Research as required
- Develop the initial setting
- Develop the characters
- Identify the telic flaw (internal and external)
- Write the initial scene (identify the output: implied setting, implied characters, implied action movement)
- Write the next scene(s) to the climax (rising action)
- Write the climax scene
- Write the falling action scene(s)
- Write the dénouement scene
I finished writing my 28th novel, working title, School, potential title Deirdre: Enchantment and the School. The theme statement is: Sorcha, the abandoned child of an Unseelie and a human, secretly attends Wycombe Abbey girls’ school where she meets the problem child Deirdre and is redeemed.
Here is the cover proposal for Deirdre: Enchantment and the School.
The most important scene in any novel is the initial scene, but eventually, you have to move to the rising action. I continued writing my 29th novel, working title Red Sonja. I finished my 28th novel, working title School. If you noticed, I started on number 28, but finished number 29 (in the starting sequence—it’s actually higher than that). I adjusted the numbering. I do keep everything clear in my records. I’m just finishing number 30, working title Detective.
How to begin a novel. Number one thought, we need an entertaining idea. I usually encapsulate such an idea with a theme statement. Since I’m writing a new novel, we need a new theme statement. Here is an initial cut.
For novel 29: Red Sonja, a Soviet spy, infiltrates the X-plane programs at Edwards AFB as a test pilot’s administrative clerk, learns about freedom, and is redeemed.
For novel 30: Lady Azure Rose Wishart, the Chancellor of the Fae, supernatural detective, and all around dangerous girl, finds love, solves cases, breaks heads, and plays golf.
Here is the scene development outline:
- Scene input (comes from the previous scene output or is an initial scene)
- Write the scene setting (place, time, stuff, and characters)
- Imagine the output, creative elements, plot, telic flaw resolution (climax) and develop the tension and release.
- Write the scene using the output and creative elements to build the tension.
- Write the release
- Write the kicker
Today: Many people would like to write, but writing is hard work. I’ll express again, if you want to be a skilled and potentially a published author, you need to write about one million words. That equates to about ten 100,000 word novels. When you look at it this way, it is a daunting goal especially if you haven’t written a single novel.
To become a good writer, you need two specific skill sets first reading and then writing. Without these skill sets, I really can’t help you much. I provide advanced help and information on how to write great fiction.
Characters are the key to great writing. Entertainment is the purpose of fiction writing. The key to entertainment is character revelation. If we want to be a successful writer, we must aim for great protagonists, and I would say, great protagonist’s helpers.
The protagonist’s helper is simply a character who is critical to the expression of the plot of the novel because the protagonist could not achieve the resolution of the internal or external telic flaw without that character. I’ll provide some examples.
In my unpublished novel, Deirdre: Enchantment and the School, Deirdre is the protagonist, and Sorcha is the protagonist’s helper. Sorcha is the girl with the great secret in the novel. She is the Fae child who is secretly attending Wycombe Abbey School for the purposes of an education. How an intellectual person can’t love such a character, I don’t know.
I do know that Sorcha is nearly the perfect protagonist’s helper. She was coerced by Deirdre to be her friend. Her greatest fear is that she will be found out and revealed to the school. Deirdre is very intelligent, but she is not as smart as Sorcha, and Deirdre is unusual by far. She wants a friend, and she believes she has made Sorcha a friend, but Sorcha is all about keeping her secret.
My point is simply this—Sorcha is an intimate who is not intimate. Deirdre believes she can share almost everything with Sorcha—well everything that isn’t a real secret of Deirdre’s. Deirdre has her own secrets, and she is not about to share them with anyone, but Deirdre is willing and able to share mutual school related experiences with Sorcha. Deirdre, the protagonist, shares her ideas and concerns with Sorcha—they converse, conspire, and company each other with Deirdre being able to express her introspection to Sorcha.
Deirdre’s introspection to Sorcha becomes the introspection and thinking expressed in the novel through showing and not telling. On a deeper level, since Sorcha’s friendship is a coerced intimacy, Sorcha feels no compunction to reign in her own thoughts. Thus you have a dynamic environment where the protagonist and the protagonist’s helper feel they can mutually express themselves to each other. This is precisely the type of dialog you want in any novel. Candid can only be candid as long as the characters believe they can express themselves freely and without fear of reprisal or indignity.
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